Up & Coming Materials: Part II

Up & Coming Materials: Part II
*truly* plant-based materials coming to a handbag near you.

Dear all,

Hope you're enjoying your Sunday.

This week I'm delighted to welcome Nina, Samantha, Jo, Ségolène, Renee, Ygal, Mara, Jack, Shrutii, Ellie, Eleanor, Beverly, Merci, et326, Kenneth, Kathleen, Shopping, MP, Sophie, She, Monica, Craig, Chloé, Fiona, Amy, Jack, Zedar & Michael. Busy week!

Thank you for signing up. I hope you'll find these newsletters really interesting and maybe even enjoyable.

Last week we looked at two up and coming plastic-free materials: Mirum & Treekind. If you missed it, you can catch up here. Following on in the same vein, I thought I'd mention some additional materials to give you more of a global view as to what else is under development in the world of alternative leathers.

It'll be a bit of a whistle-stop tour, as there are just so many new ones (53 at my last count!). For this week I've chosen a small selection of those that are either close-to-market, controversial or just plain cool.

Ready? Let's go!


Ever heard of olive pomace? I hadn't either.

Apparently it's a thick sludge that is the main residue after extracting the oil from olives. Charming.

Normally it's seen as worthless - sent to be incinerated or dumped into sewage. The smart people at OLEATEX however, have found a use for it: making it the base of their vegan leather.


A material that's had quite a lot of press thanks to their work with Stella McCartney, Adidas, Lululemon and the Kering Group (Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Venetta...)

Often called "mushroom leather" MYLO has been created by a company called Bolt Threads. It is made from mycelium, which is effectively the root system of mushrooms. No word as yet when this material will be available to non-multinationals.


"ZOA" is the name of Modern Meadow's bio-based leather alternative. Whilst most of the text on their website is scientific gobbledy-gook or very vague ("bio-alloys", "functional components", "biological building blocks" etc) the one thing I did understand was that they use non-animal proteins. ☺︎

To date the company has received investment of $184M, so they're definitely one to watch.


You've probably heard about these guys thanks to their partnership with the illustrious Hermès. Mycoworks' material is called Reishi Fine Mycellium™ and it's similar in nature to their competitors: Modern Meadow's ZOA and Bolt Threads' MYLO.

Hermès' former CEO, Patrick Thomas, joined the board in July, explaining that the luxury industry's slow (non-existant?) shift away from leather is due to the lack of high-quality cruelty-free equivalents. He naturally went on to say that "MycoWorks’ Fine Mycelium technology is the first to meet their quality standards. MycoWorks will be the backbone of this expansion.”

Another one to watch.


Hugo & Koen, the guys at Fruitleather Rotterdam have been perfecting their mango-based "leather" for several years and are now in scale-up mode.

LUXTRA has worked with their material in the past (that's our bag, above!) and we have a whole page with information about the material on our website, here. Promise me you'll watch the video. It's in Dutch, but that shouldn't matter - it's seeing the process that's really cool.


One of the more controversial companies is VitroLabs Inc. who are making lab-grown leather. The process involves extracting cells from a living cow and cultivating them in a lab. VitroLabs say they can make billions of square feet of (real) leather with "a single, harmless biopsy from one cow."

Personally I'm a tad torn: I tend to be a pragmatic vegan so I think it's a fabulous and cruelty-free way to make the leather with which we are all familiar. On the other hand... with all the technology we have, I think it's high time for us to leave the animal kingdom in peace...

Your opinions, as always, are very welcome.


OUF! That was quite long (sorry!) and even so, I only just scratched surface. Hit reply if there's a material you'd like me to look at in a future newsletter.

But now, I'll sign off and leave you to enjoy your Sunday :)

Ciao ciao,

Jessica x

Founder | Plant Parent | Proud B Corper

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